Network Rail 'to be stripped of monopoly over running Britain's railway tracks'

Network Rail is reportedly to be stripped of its control over Britain's railway tracks, with new powers being passed to the train operators.

In a major reorganisation of the system, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is preparing to tell the publicly-owned company that he wants it to share responsibility for running the tracks, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The move would mean companies such as Virgin, Southern or ScotRail would for the first time be given responsibility for maintenance and repairs, thereby ending Network Rail's monopoly.

Mr Grayling will set out his plans in a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank on Tuesday.

The transport secretary is said to believe the move would incentivise the operators to carry out the work more quickly, reducing delays and possibly leading to lower fares.

A Department for Transport spokesman said only: "I can confirm Chris Grayling is making a speech on Tuesday."